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Dance Program

dance students
dance students
dance students
dance students
dance students
dance students
dance students
dance students
dance students
dance students

Pathway Description

The Dance Program will enrich the lives of young performing artists in the field of dance by providing a learning environment that allows students to capitalize on their innate talent and passion for dance as an art form. The Dance Program provides the dance student with a well-rounded, comprehensive fine arts dance education that develops the student as an artist through opportunities to create, respond, and connect dance to personal and global experiences.

Dance styles will include, but not be limited to, ballet, jazz and contemporary dance. Rigorous daily training in dance technique allows students to further develop their physical capabilities. Performance skills and artistry are further developed through required participation in annual performances. Master classes with guest artists from professional companies and faculty from colleges and universities are provided to the dance students.

Students who are accepted will attend Maurice J. McDonough High School as freshmen at the start of the 2024-25 school year.  Transportation will be provided by CCPS.

Course Requirements

Dance 1, Dance 2, Dance 3, Dance 4 or Company. Each Course is a double period and 2 credits.  

Sample Schedule

   9th Grade  10th Grade  11th Grade  12th Grade
 1 English Requirement English Requirement English Requirement English Requirement
2 LSN Government US History World History Financial Lit
 3 Math Requirement Math Requirement Math Requirement Math Requirement
 4 Science Requirement Science Requirement Science Requirement Technical Ed Requirement
 5 World Language World Language PE / Health (.5 credit each) Elective
 6 Dance 1 Dance 2 Dance 3 / Company Dance 4 / Company
 7 Dance 1 Dance 2 Dance 3 / Company Dance 4 / Company

What do I need to know before I complete the application?

  1. Attend an informational meeting at McDonough on November 6, 2023 at 6:30 p.m.
  2. View the Dance video on the CTE  Showcase for more information about the Dance program.
  3. Refer to the High School Program of Studies for specific program descriptions and course requirements.

Students eligible to apply must meet the following qualifications:

  • Both the student and parent/guardian must be current residents of Charles County.
  • The student must be currently enrolled (SY 2023-24) as an eighth-grader in a Charles County Public Schools middle school, private school, or is homeschooled.
  • No formal dance instruction is required.

Application Process

  • Student completes the online application with all required information, including a 30-second video best showcasing talent that can be original choreography.  Video formats must be .mov (Apple) or .mp4 (Android) and can not exceed 20 MB in size.
  • Student and Parent/Guardian may attend an informational meeting which will describe the audition process, course descriptions, and other aspects of the dance program in more detail on Nov. 6, 2023 at 6:30 p.m. at Maurice J. McDonough High School  Auditorium.
  • Choreography will be sent to families to memorize for audition.
  • Attend an audition on TBD.


  • Student completes the online application with all required information.
  • Thirty-second video best showcasing talent.  The video file must be in .mp4 or .mov format and no larger than 20MB.  We suggest using medium quality resolution.  If the video size is over 20MB, you can provide a link to the video from either OneDrive or Google Drive.  Please make sure the link is viewable for anyone that has the link. 
  • Report cards for sixth and seventh grade to be uploaded to the application.
  • Student and Parent/Guardian electronically sign the application.
  • Attend an audition on TBD.

apply here

Admission decisions are made based on the following criteria:

  • 70%  Student audition which includes an assessment of skills
  • 15%  Academic performance in sixth and seventh grades as it relates to the program
  • 10%  Application questions and video
  •   5%  Middle School Attendance - sixth and seventh grade. 

Audition Process

  • Prior to the Audition
    • Attend the Informational Meeting on Nov. 6, 2023 at 6:30 p.m. at McDonough High School Auditorium. (Recommended)
    • Description of Audition Process
    • Practice the audition component to be demonstrated at the audition.
  • Day of the Audition
    • Arrival: Applicants should arrive 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time. Students who arrive more than 10 minutes late may not be admitted into the audition. 
    • Attire: Applicants should arrive wearing attire that is conducive to movement (e.g. leotard, footless or convertible tights, fitted white t-shirt, black dance pants).
      • Please, no jeans or restrictive clothing. 
      • Ballet slippers are the preferred footwear for parts of the audition and will enhance the candidate’s ability to perform certain movements. Ballet slippers will be made available for students who need them on the day of the audition.
      • Bare feet will also be required for parts of the movement experience.
      • Hair must be secured away from the neck and face. No loose jewelry (e.g. necklace, bracelet, hoop earrings) is to be worn for the audition.
    • Accompanying Adult: Parents are to drop off applicants and return at the conclusion of the audition.
    • Audition Duration: Approximately 3 hours
    • Unforeseen Illness or Emergency: If the applicant cannot attend or complete the scheduled audition due to an unforeseen illness or emergency, please immediately contact 301-934-2944. Please leave a detailed voicemail if the call is not answered up by a live operator. Please be aware that auditions will not be rescheduled without documentation verifying the illness or emergency. 
    • Inclement Weather: In the event that school activities are canceled due to inclement weather, dance auditions will be postponed. Postponed auditions will occur on the designated inclement weather date. All emergency closing and cancellation information will be posted on the CCPS automated information line,301-934-7410 or 301-932-6655. Closings and cancellation announcements may also be made through local media. 
    • Letters of recommendation and portfolios are not accepted; applicants do not need to come prepared with choreography for the audition.
  • After the Audition
    • Students will be notified if callbacks are required
    • Students will be notified of their acceptance in February or March, depending on when they attended the audition.

Selection Process

Once the application/audition process is closed, a committee will meet to determine a qualifying score for the program.  All students who meet the qualifying score will be considered a candidate for the program. Twenty candidates will be selected for acceptance and other candidates will be placed on the waitlist and offered a seat if it becomes available.

Acceptance Requirements

In Spring 2024, letters of acceptance will be mailed. The letter of acceptance will contain an acceptance/decline agreement. Within two weeks of receipt, the acceptance/decline agreement must be signed and returned with two proofs of legal Charles County residency.  If the acceptance agreement is not received within two weeks, Maurice J. McDonough High School will consider the acceptance as declined by the parent and the student. 

acceptable proofs of residency/domicile

Have a question about the program or need assistance with the application?
Please contact Ms. Zohra Cherif at or 301-753-1755.